O-Zone: Just chilling

JACKSONVILLE – Let's get to it …

Bradley from Sparks, NV

Going into the 2017 NFL Draft, the Kansas City Chiefs had just finished 11-5, won a playoff game and had a quarterback in his prime playing at a Pro Bowl level. They were thought to be one or two players away from competing for a Super Bowl. They were picking in the late 20s. Conventional wisdom says they should find a couple rookies in need areas that could help immediately. They went outside the box, trading several draft picks – including a future first-rounder – to move up 17 spots. They took a quarterback who was thought to be a system quarterback and a second-round choice when the draft process began. They took Patrick Mahomes. The rest is history. The Jaguars were coming off a four-or-five-win season where the quarterback put up below-average numbers and in his three years completely flunked the eye test. They should have been scouting quarterbacks relentlessly as they were picking fourth overall, but probably didn't. They chose a running back – and not the one that was a generational talent. They chose the fifth-best running back in that year's loaded running back draft. The rest is history. My question is: Would you as a football expert picked Fournette that year?

No. The Jaguars that offseason, remember, had just hired Tom Coughlin as executive vice president of football operations. The organizational theme that offseason was to win now – win lunch, if you will – and the thought was that adding a big-time running back (Leonard Fournette) to a ball-control offense with what the team believed would be a dominant defense was the best way to win quickly. They were correct. They won immediately in 2017, won the AFC South title and made the AFC Championship Game. The tradeoff was that they passed on a generational quarterback (Mahomes) and another player who seems destined to be at least a very good quarterback (Deshaun Watson of the Houston Texans) for a long time. A concern at the time was that focusing on the now could hurt long-term – and another concern was that No. 4 overall is generally too high these days to select a running back. As for whether I would have selected Fournette No. 4 overall in 2017 … no, because I would have a hard time selecting any running back that early in the draft. Still, I can't say I had any inkling that Mahomes would be this good. Few football experts can honestly say that.

Tyler from Jacksonville

Did they cancel the season yet? NFL SUCKS

No, "Tyler," but the NFL Players Association reportedly has informed players there will be no preseason games in 2020 because of COVID-19. That happened Tuesday as a result of the ongoing negotiations between the NFL and the NFLPA regarding the 2020 season. The NFLPA didn't inform players that you think the league sucks. Maybe you can go to one of the millions of non-NFL-related websites and express that opinion. I'm sure someone will care. Maybe.

Sweeney from Glasgow, Scotland

The Duval Dozen!!! I like that.

I'll pass it along.

Brett from St. Augustine, FL

If Yann finally decides to sign the franchise tag, does he need to pass a physical before it becomes official?

No, but all NFL players must pass a physical upon reporting to a team for a given season, so Jaguars defensive end Yannick Ngakoue – like all players – would need to pass a physical before playing.

Tim from Fernandina Beach, FL

John: Unless I'm mistaken (an often occurrence according to my wife) Yannick only gets the $17 million if he plays all 16 games. Otherwise it is prorated to how many games he plays. Correct?

You are correct. Tell your wife it happened. She won't believe you, but you can tell her anyway.

Daniel from Johnston, IA

Another Yannick question. If he doesn't sign until the last possible second and joins for Week 10, I know he accrues a full season, but does he get paid for a full season or just for remaining games? Just wondering if there's any motivation for him to join the Jaguars for the full season versus essentially a half season.

Yes, there is a financial motivation – and a big one. Players under the franchise tag essentially get paid a guaranteed one-year salary. Under NFL rules, players get paid their salary in weekly increments throughout the season. Ngakoue and any other tagged player therefore gets a weekly check every week after which they report – but nothing until they report.

Scott from Fernandina Beach, FL

Hi, John: Do you know if Yan's agent gets a percentage of $17 million Yan earns if he signs the tag?

Yes, he does.

Robert from Jacksonville

Something's not right about this.

I agree.

zac from austin, tejas

I was really confident and unwavering in my belief that there would be a complete season this year - I figured if I'm expected to return to the classroom in August, surely there will be football. Then I announced that to my friends last night and MAN … They really crumbled all the thoughts I had (there being no money with no fans in seats, players holding out, NBA & MLB already looking unsure in prime circumstances, etc.) Then they pointed out that I pull a lot of my news from a team columnist based in a state that has *not exactly* lead the way in conservative approaches when it comes to COVID approaches. Is there anything you can say to put my apprehensive heart at ease?

Your friends sound young, cynical and a bit under-informed. That's OK. We were all young once. Look: I don't know that there will be a complete NFL season; no one knows because no one knows everything for sure about COVID-19 and how it will affect sports leagues that by definition bring their athletes into close contact. But there are reasons for optimism that bely your young friends' theories. One is that the reduced fans gives teams and leagues all the more reason to have a complete season; losing television revenue would only serve to worsen what already is a difficult financial situation. Another is that although some players indeed will opt out, many players will play because of very real financial incentive/need to do so. Still another is that the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball – far from looking unsure – have reported encouraging results of tests since implementing protocols to enable seasons to be played. Those things don't guarantee things that are unguaranteeable, but they are some reasons there's a better chance of a full NFL season than some young cynics tend to believe.

Gabe from Chapel Hill, NC

As long as we're still talking about football movies, how about one fer "Rudy" and "Any Given Sunday." Top-ten?

Meh.

Nicholas from Fort Hood, TX

KOAF: Still a lot to be decided but if we do get back to 2019 normal after this season, do you expect changes to either the number of preseason games in 2021 or an increase on the number of players for the preseason roster to make up for the limited preseason this year? This would allow players that were drafted in 2020 to have a more "fair" shot at an evaluation.

I doubt we'll ever see more than two preseason games. I don't expect an increase in the number of players on the preseason roster in the future because teams always invite young, unsigned players who aren't rookies to camp. Most of this year's undrafted rookies will get a "fair shot," even if they have to wait a year to get it.

Josh from Jacksonville

If they cancel the entire preseason, I suspect after Week 1 it will be plainly evident that 50 percent of teams will have utilized the time to stay rested and healthy and ready to come out swinging. These teams' coaches are the forward-thinking geniuses of tomorrow's NFL. Today. The other 50 percent of teams will have squandered the time by not getting enough reps and stupidly refusing to focus on fundamentals. All of those teams' coaches should be fired. Obviously.

True. (I mean, obviously).

William from Savannah, GA

O-Man, Glockenspiel? Acoustic or electric? I mean, anybody can play the $#&% out of an electric one.

Acoustic. (I mean, obviously).

unhipcat from carslbad, ca

Oh, hi John. Re: Mark Brunell versus Blake Bortles and bad passes, there was a practice where then-Head Coach Tom Coughlin was yelling because during a practice Mark threw an interception, into too tight coverage or something like that, and that he should just throw the ball away. The next pass went into a tree. Tom probably thought that was funny.

Your email brought back an old memory, and I couldn't quite remember it in detail. I do recall something like this, and I don't know that Coughlin thought it was all that funny. But I'm pretty sure Brunell did.

Frankie from Hollywood

Zone, man, just relax.

Don't do it.

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